YATE-BASED champion rider Luke Hedger ended the season in style by fighting his way up the field to finish second in the final British 125GP Championship round at Brands Hatch.
In the first qualifying session Hedger, who won the title at Silverstone two weeks earlier, led the way until Bradley Ray pipped his time on his final lap.
The second qualifying session was cancelled after a car blew its engine on the track.
As Hedger rolled onto the grid to take his position he looked decidedly shaken as during the sighting lap his right foot had slipped off the peg and he was finding it difficult to get any purchase on the foot peg.
His Fireplace Warehouse (FPW) team found the sole of Hedger’s right boot and footpeg covered in a smearing of oil and confirmed it was not from his bike before cleaning it up.
However, this obviously played on Hedger’s mind as he treated the first lap very gingerly and fell to seventh on the first lap.
Hedger made no improvement until lap four when his confidence in his tyres had returned.
He worked his way to the front of his group which included Kyle Ryde, Peter Sutherland, Cath Green and Joe Irving.
At the halfway point Hedger made a committed pass, which allowed him to gap his group and put him in a position to chase down Joe Francis and Jordan Weaving, who were some three seconds ahead on the track.
In two laps Hedger bridged the gap and made the move to take third on lap ten and second on lap 12.
The three riders swapped places on the final two laps but it was Hedger who crossed the line second.
Finishing the season on the podium and taking the championship trophy at Brands in front of so many fans, friends and supporters was a fitting end to the season for Hedger.
FPW team owner Adrian Mason said: “I really wanted to end the season in the right way.
“Luke’s performance over the last few rounds has been affected by the pressure of winning the championship and he hasn’t ridden at the top of his game. To see him go out and race like he did today was just what he and I needed to end the season on.
“It’s really been a team effort but Luke brought home the title and that is now in the record books.
“Seeing the bike on the track alongside all of the other (British Superbike) series winners was a real proud moment for me and the team and justifies the effort we all put in.”